DIY · Norwegian

Norwegian Sandkake – Sandbakels

Did you ever wonder about those tart tins, what they were used for? Obviously some kind of cookie…but WHICH cookie?

Wings of Whimsy: Norwegian Sandkake - Sandbakels, with recipe and instructions in English

I can account for (some of) the tart tins: It’s a traditional Norwegian Christmas sugar cookie, that dates back (at least) to the first half of the 1800s. 🙂 The cookie is called Sandkake or Sandbakels (both kake and bakels are Norwegian words for cake/cookie).

Sandkake can be eaten alone with tea or coffe (similar to Scottish Shortbread) or the little “cups” can be filled with whipped cream and berries:

Wings of Whimsy: Sandkake

The tradition of Sandkake reached America with the emigrants in the late 1800s. They even brought tart tins from home, to make the sugar cookies. Sandkake (along with Krumkake and Lefse) has remained popular Christmas cakes to this day, both in Norway and with Norwegian-Americans “over there”.

My personal favorite is serving these with whipped cream and cloudberries! I have not been able to verify if the emigrants were also able to find cloudberries in America, if any of the readers know, please post below.

Wings of Whimsy: Sandkake

Home on the farm where I grew up, my Grandmother would make all the traditional Christmas cookies. She’d be starting the preparations late October, depending on the moon phases! It is a well kept secret that milk, butter and eggs behave better during an ascending moon than during a descending moon. Making sure she’d fit all the different preparations in due time was thus a puzzle that she had to start early! Some of the cakes (like Sandkake) could be made well ahead, and stored in air tight cookie cannisters, bread and buns could be frozen. But some Christmas preparations had to be fitted as close as possible to Christmas.

Here is a typical set of Sandkake tins:

Wings of Whimsy: Sandkake

One of the tart tins has become more popular than the others. And I think I know why: although the tins are carefully greased before the dough goes in, it can be difficult to get the cookies out, undamaged. The round tin with sloping sides is the easiest one to use…:-P So today you’ll find a stack of these “standard” tart tins in most Norwegian kitchens:

Wings of Whimsy: Sandkake

Baking is not my best domain, but I do give it a try every once in a while. This year I have decided to try Sandkake again, since I’ve been stocking up on sooo many tart tins – I can’t make ornaments with all of them before I have tried baking the cookies, can I? So here is the recipe, if you want to try too:

Traditional Norwegian Sandkake

Ingredients

  • 200 grams butter or margarin, at room temperature
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 100 grams grinded almonds
  • 350 grams flour
  • 1 ½ tbs baking powder

Instructions

Whip butter white with the sugar, then add the egg. Mix the dry ingredinets and add them to the batter, mix well

Grease tins well with melted margarin, using a brush. Squeeze dough into tins by adding a lump in the middle and then squeezing it to fit the tin. 

Temperature and cooking

Cook on 190°C, low in the owen for approx. 20 minutes. Let the cookies cool some before overturning the tins. If they are not “popping out” willingly, you can try gently tapping the turned tin on the countertop, or tapping with a spoon on top of the tin.

Serve and enjoy!!!

Wings of Whimsy: Sandkake

Don’t forget to sign up for the Chrismas Ornament Swap!

Here are some of the ideas what kind of ornaments you can make with tart tins and cookie cutters (click on image):

Inspiration for Tart Tin & Cookie Cutter Ornaments Swap

Sign up for the swap before October 1st, by posting a comment below, or send me a personal email 😀

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8 thoughts on “Norwegian Sandkake – Sandbakels

  1. I had never heard of them until now .This is what Wikipedia and Britannica has to say about them
    Cloudberries occur naturally throughout the Northern Hemisphere from 78°N, south to about 55°N, and very scattered south to 44°N mainly in mountainous areas. In Europe they grow in the Nordic countries and the Baltic states. In Asia across northern Russia east towards the Pacific Ocean. Small populations are also found further south, as a botanical vestige of the Ice Ages; it is found in Germany’s Weser and Elbe valleys, where it is under legal protection, and rarely in the moorlands of Britain and Ireland. In North America, cloudberries grow wild across most of northern Canada, Alaska, northern Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine, and there is a small population on Long Island, New York
    They are similar to raspberries which are very popular here in Texas. I add mashed raspberries to flavor tea .
    Please add me to the cookie cutter swap. I foolishly sold my tart tins in a fit of organizing.

    1. Dear Dobie 🙂
      YAY! I’m stoked to sign you up for the swap! If you come across some tart tins in a thrift store, please let me know, and I’ll find you a spot there too 😉
      Even here in Norway cloudberries are rare, and considered a treat. You ought to try to find some, you might be able to find them in well-assorted delicacy stores? The taste is not even remotely similar to raspberries, although the appearance might be a little close…:-P Big hug to you Hunny 🙂

  2. I make these each year at Christmas, and use the sandbakels pronunciation. We never filled them. I grew up in northern MN and have a Scandinavian heritage. I make many other triditional goodies. I can never imagine myself using my precious tart tins for anything but these tasty treats, as they once belonged to my grandmother. Next week my husband and I are showing some people how to make lefse, they will all get their turn at rolling.

    1. Dear Rose.
      Thank you for sharing your story about the Scandianavian traditions 🙂 I agree, I would also not take my grandmothers tart tins to make ornaments, if I had them…:-O But I’ve been scoring these when I go thrifting. And here they are just as common as cookie cutters. So I have plenty of these to use for crafting. Here you can also find brand new ones at the discount stores, also cheap…;-) I’ll be sharing some tricks to “age” new tart tins in a week or so if anyone wants to pursue that option. xoxoxo

  3. Rose again. I though you might like me to explain that MN means Minnesota U.S. I now live in Oklahoma US. I grew up with Norwegian and Swedish people all around me, but I seldom find anyone from “the old country” around here. I have a question for you. How do you eat your lefse? Rolled, flat, folded? Sugar, butter, plan or with other toppings? My husband and I have a disagreement on the proper way to eat it. My family rolls it after covering it with butter and sprinkling sugar on top. My husband’s family only uses butter. He’s family is of Norwegian decent, where as my family has more Swedish heritage, although there is some Norwegian sprinkled in. Thank you for your delightful blog, I always find it enjoyable.

    1. Hello again Dear 🙂

      If you go back here on WoW to around March/April this year, you will see that I did several posts on my relatives emigrating to the US, and the genealogy research I’ve been doing trying to find out what happened to them, and to find living relatives 🙂 All of them started out in Minnesota and North Dakota, although some of them moved on to Canada eventually.

      When I was young, I was fortunate enough to be able to stay on Cape Cod, Massachusetts for a full year, as an exchange student, I still keep in touch with my host family over there, although it is now 25 years ago. So I feel like I have several strong ties to America, and I’m very, very pleased to have several followers “over there”. You might also have noticed (although it has actually been quite a long time ago!) that my specialty is cherub postcards. I have quite a large personal collection of (mainly) Edwardian Valentine postcards depicting all sorts of cherubs and cupids. All those postcards have been purchased on ebay, from sellers in the US, they are n-o-t common among Norwegian post cards collectors….:-P

      I plan to do a special post about Lefse also this fall, where I will try to write more in depth about variations, but I can reveal already: there is no “proper” way to eat it 😉 Most Norwegians will certainly disagree with me, but only due to the fact that they all think t-h-e-i-r way is the right way, much like you and your husband…lol! That said, I think the most c-o-m-m-o-n way is to fold it, and serve it with butter and sugar. I have never head of anyone who eats it plain. In fact I have never heard of anyone (off hand) that eats it with only butter either…:-P I will definitely try to look up different variations, and try to include what the Norwegian-Americans have developed as “their” way, since the Norwegian-American population is equally big (5 million) as the population in Norway itself…lol! This is also the first time I have head about Swedes eating lefse, I wonder if they adopted that from the Norwegians, or if there is also lefse in Sweden…hm, this I must now research…lol!! Big hugs to both you and your husband, encouraging you to eat your lefse ANY way you prefer and feel is the right way to you 😀 xoxoxo

      PS Please read my previous post about the Christmas Ornament Swap, and consider joining. You can sign up for cookie cutters (brand new ones from the dollar store) and enjoy the fun of exchanging little Christmas decorations across the miles 😉

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